Saturday, March 27, 2004

Stupid church jurisdictional fights
In one word: стыдно! (Shameful!) And it's not just the Eastern Orthodox convert boomlet in the West either - the Russkies (both in the US and Canada and in the old country) are guilty as well.

There are too many jurisdictions in the Ukraine due to superstition (?) and infighting. If the Ukrainians cannot solve it, then it will go to the MP (the Church of Russia) or the EP (the Greek patriarch in Istanbul... but as he's not the Ukrainians' patriarch, why him?) to do so even without general consent. Of the two, the MP would be the preferred peacemaker. (Well, yes, as the Church of Russia is the canonical Orthodox church of the Ukraine.) Unfortunately, the ROCOR has not the force of law behind her project (I assume he means setting up dioceses in a place where, however imperfect, there already is an Eastern Orthodox church - one would think the Suzdal' fiasco taught them a lesson about that).

- Joseph D

From Forum 18
Russia: ‘Alternative Orthodox’ denied legal status
A religious-liberty issue. Functional independence from the state church was necessary back in Soviet times but 'alternative Orthodox' in theory is a contradiction in terms and certainly would have been seen that way in the Tsarist era.

As traditionalist RCs and Anglo-Catholics have found out in the past 40 years, and as was the Byzantine Catholic experience in America 100 years ago, functional separation from hostile bishops is sometimes necessary though always regrettable. But that's quite different to Donatism, which on principle says 'validity' depends on the worthiness of the minister. ('Theology of taint', including the taint of 'Sergianism' - when the Church of Russia was literally beaten into submission to the Soviet government in 1927 - doesn't work.) The apostolic ministry - basic Catholic ecclesiology - doesn't work that way.

These Russian schisms seem historically to fit the pattern of the Old Believers (who have a separate church in Russia to this day, led by a Metropolitan Andrian 'of Moscow and All Rus’', and many, many splinters - it seems once you fall into it, schism is a hard habit to break) - an overreaction not about principles but rather the petty narcissism of small differences. (Imagine if 90 years ago Percy Dearmer's Sarumophiles and Ronald Knox's Tridentine Society of SS. Peter & Paul set up rival churches with their own bishops that didn't recognize each other's orders!)

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